Space Programs

Early Soviet Programs

What are some accomplishments of the Luna program?

In 1959 Luna 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by the Moon. Luna 2 was launched on September 12, 1959, and crash-landed onto the lunar surface, becoming the first human-made object to reach the Moon. A few months later, Luna 3 took the first pictures of the far side of the Moon. In February 1966, Luna 9 was the first human-made object to make a soft landing on the Moon. The ball-shaped space probe contained a television camera, which transmitted footage of the moonscape around it. In September 1970, Luna 16 became the first of four probes to collect lunar soil samples robotically and return them to Earth. Between November 1971 and January 1973, Luna probes placed two remote-controlled, lunar roving cars on the Moon. Lunakhod 1 and Lunakhod 2 cruised over the lunar terrain, taking photographs and measuring the chemical composition of the soil.


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